Education: Keeping Brown in Black

Strategy for the '80s: tight management, academic excellence

One Sunday morning last month, as the exuberant but messy Spring Weekend celebration was drawing to a close, an unusual clean-up crew went into action on the campus green of Brown University. Its members were not maintenance workers but volunteers from the student body—led by a tweedy man with a professional air: Howard Swearer, 50, Brown's 15th president. If, at that moment, Swearer was not the only U.S. college president stooping to such a mundane task, he may have been one of the enviable few whose cooperative posture was producing positive results.

After years during...

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